Competitors leading up to the 1998 NFL Draft, Ryan Leaf says he found himself a big fan of Peyton Manning during the latter’s career.
The hottest debate going into the 1998 NFL Draft was which quarterback should the Indianapolis Colts take with the first pick: Tennessee’s Peyton Manning or Washington State’s Ryan Leaf. The Colts opted for Manning, while Leaf fell only one spot to the San Diego Chargers.
Their careers couldn’t have gone much differently.
Manning became one of the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls and being named NFL MVP five times during his 18-year career. Leaf was out of the league by 2002 and is considered one of the biggest busts in draft history.
Instead of being green with envy, Leaf said he was a big fan of Manning.
“He’d probably be an example of somebody I should be resentful of, but he’s such a good person that I’ve always been rooting for him,” Leaf told the Seth Davis Show. “I rooted for him in the Super Bowl this past year, and I’ll continue to root for him.”
Manning was one of the most beloved players among his teammates and opposition along with fans. Leaf said the kindness Manning showed him during the both the best and worst times makes it so easy to cheer for him.
“Him and his family have always been amazing to my family. He’s just an outstanding person.”